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The Arab world and its neighbors are stuck in a violence trap. The fighting in Libya, Syria, Yemen and Iraq, together with the predations of groups such as ISIS, is destroying the economic links needed to ensure long-term political stability. Indeed, by redrawing the region's economic boundaries, the latest wave of violence has brought about a veritable trade shock, the true scale and significance of which has largely gone unnoticed. The consequences are being felt most acutely in the Levant, where improved transport and trade reforms had strengthened economic ties between Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.Five years ago, Syria's northern border towns were reaping the dividends of Turkey's fast-growing economy.The region desperately needs new trade opportunities to address unemployment; instead, what it is getting is trade diversion. A new economic order will therefore be necessary to create and sustain a stable new political order in the region.
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